This year has already had it’s tribulations, and it’s only the 4th month! However this year has also had amazing memories with brilliant people, and so I would like to share with you the Pros and Cons of my 2017, shall we say. I kind of just want to get more personal with myself, steering away from the “10 tips to…” and “Reasons why you…” whilst also helping readers who may relate to feelings and thoughts that I’ve been having.
Naturally, I will begin on a negative note but don’t fret, it’s not all misery and self pity. Consider it an invite to help me summarise my year and work myself out…oh joy, right? Well, hopefully I won’t cause too much fatigue with this.
You can’t simply “cure” one’s mental complications.
I have learned this year that mental stability is not an on/off or black/white kind of thing; it doesn’t just go.
That’s not to say I haven’t improved over the years, because I very much have. However, these things work on a day-by-day basis, and you can never truly know what crazy things your brain is going to do tomorrow.
I recently had a bad day; anxious taps, self isolation, frantic tidying and unexplained teary bouts, and I couldn’t help but beat myself up about it. The thoughts turned to “Why are you doing this? I thought you were better? All this hard work for nothing!” The typical thoughts when blaming yourself. I was so angry with myself for allowing these thoughts to overpower me when I thought that I’d been completely “cured” of these feelings.
But it’s important, and perhaps a bit depressing, to remember that mental wellness issues are conditions that you can treat but not necessarily cure; a man who has overcome his depression will almost definitely relapse once in his life, so it’s important to remember everything you’ve been told about how to cope with the symptoms.
I doubt I’ll ever be extroverted and relaxed and I’ll always feel uncomfortable eating the same meal twice in a row. That doesn’t mean I’ll never be happy or that I’ll always feel on-edge, however I’m learning that despite improvements and treatments, those tiny little frilly bits in my mind will always be part of who I am.
Changes in relationships are part of growing up.
Those older than me always told me that school friendships don’t last forever, that people change as they get older and that people just sometimes need their own space.
“Uhm, no mum, because we’ve both got matching BFFLAEAF rings and a secret dance and we’re going to the same high school so we’re going to be friends forever and ever and ever and ev…”
Yeah… it doesn’t always work like that, and the hardest bit about it is that I’ve still got that childlike nativity that tells me that I’m still going to be maid of honour, vice president and sidekick to all of these people I went to school with.
The other hard realisation is that nothing bad happened to us. There was no drama or big argument, but somehow we floated away from each other and created an awkward, slimy river of discomfort between us, as we both stand and realise that we are different people now and the connection just isn’t there.
For me, it was when I’d see my friends having coffees without inviting me, tagging other people in those funny Facebook posts and ditching the long embarrassing birthday posts for a short and sweet text message that I knew it was all different. Everyone was always busy, sick, poor or tired, including me, and it was almost impossible to organise any kind of reunion.
I also discovered that I didn’t want to do the whole coffee date and catch-up thing. I wanted to spend more time alone, writing or drawing or just slobbing around. Even I didn’t have time for anyone and I found myself getting annoyed when people would ask to meet me, expecting everyone to instinctively know that I needed to be alone.
I guess it was important for me that I reminded myself that I hadn’t done anything wrong and neither had anyone else. We’re all just changing and meeting new people and doing what we can to keep ourselves fulfilled, which is okay.
Money, money, money…
I am so awful with money, and there is always that week at the end of the month where the cupboard is empty and I’m hiding away in the house to prevent myself from spending any more. Do I self indulge? Do I eat too much? Are busses too expensive. Yes, yes, yes. And you know what, I’ve worked for it so I deserve it, right? Maybe so, but with university on the horizon and rent to pay, this is something I have no choice in improving.
I tried to put a certain amount of money in a jar every week, track my spending and keep receipts but nothing improved, and I don’t know where I’m going with this because I’m currently in that week of poverty. Basically, if anyone has any money saving tips, please let me know because I still haven’t found the answer.
However, I’ve now learned that money is so so so no worth crying over, stressing over or worrying about because (apart from rent and food of course) it it all invisible and disposable and doesn’t fix any of my problems. The money I need for survival spends is enough for me to find comfort, knowing I am fed and dry. But I will really try to stop worrying about the extra bits that I “waste” because, hey, whatever.
2017’s silver lining (so far.)
Okay, so I’m a very anxious person anyway, but as you can see, I worry a lot. However, despite the fact that I am mental, friendless and poor, I have also learned that, uh, I’m not.
This year, I have projected my thoughts and feelings into art and writing, and channelled my problems into every task of mine.
I have cherished memories of friends that I have grown up with, laughed at photographs and made new friends who are there for me in very different ways; ways in which an 8 year old BFF cannot.
I have “wasted” my money on trips to London, trips to see my family, nights out that I’ll remember for years and equipment that will help me develop my art.
I have learned that 2017’s cons are 2017’s pros. Each weakness of mine is blossoming into a lesson for me to learn and I finally feel like I am truly growing up.